Philippines 1941-42

Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked the Philippine Islands. During the five month long invasion, the American and Filipino forces fought a long and heroic delaying action to allow time for the United States to gear up for war. This was the first time where American manned tanks fought the enemy in WWII and it was the campaign where the US Army made its last cavalry charge.

The Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War was signed on 10 December 1898. As per the treaty, Spain renounced all claims to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States and transferred sovereignty over the Philippine Islands to the United States for $20 million dollars. From 1899 to 1902, the US fought and defeated a bloody Filipino Insurrection where insurgents sought immediate independence for the native Filipinos. Some Filipinos believed they had traded their Spanish occupiers for American ones while American opponents to the acquisition of the Philippines viewed the annexation as raw American colonialism. In 1916, the Jones Act or the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916 (passed in the US Congress) promised eventual independence for the Filipinos and allowed for an elected Philippine senate. The Tydings-McDuffie Act, officially the Philippine Independence Act, was enacted on 24 March 1934 which established the process for the Philippines to become a fully independent country after a 10 year transition period. One provision of the act was, prior to independence, the US was allowed to maintain military forces in the Philippines and to enlist all military forces of the Philippine government into US military service.

In 1941, the Philippine Army (PA) consisted of eleven ill-equipped infantry divisions composed largely of reservists. The Filipino units lacked basic training facilities, modern weapons/equipment, uniforms, rations and other material issues. The PA required trained leadership and many American officers had command of battalions and higher formations. One of the better PA units was the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) which in addition to horse mounted troops had a HQ Troop, machine gun troop, and a platoon of 6 White M1 scout cars, and trucks for transporting service elements.

As the threat of war with Japan continued to grow, the defense of American positions in the Philippines, Hawaii and other outposts in the Pacific became a high priority. In August 1941, the Army Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall directed all new equipment coming off the production lines to be shipped to General Douglas MacArthur’s command in the Philippines. Two National Guard (NG) units, the 194th and 192nd Tank Battalions were activated and each battalion were re-equipped with new early production M3 Stuart light tanks.

Crew: 4 (driver, co-driver, commander, and gunner)
Turret: Octagonal shape with commander’s cupola.
Main Armament: 37mm M5 gun on M22 mount
Secondary Armament: Five .30 Caliber Browning MGs
(1 co-axial, 1 on AA mount, 1 in front hull and 2 in the hull sponsons.)
Engine: Air-cooled radial, gasoline-fueled 7-cylinder Continental W-670
Transmission: 5 Forward, 1 Reverse
Weight: 28,000 lbs (14 short tons)
Length: 178.4 inches (4.53 meters)
Width: 88 inches (2.24 meters)
Height: 104 inches (2.64 meters)
Max Speed: 36 mph (57.96 kph)
Turning Radius: 42 feet (12.8 meters)
Fuel Capacity: 54 Gallons (204.4 Liters)
Range: 70 miles (112.65 km)

Armor: Face-hardened rolled homogeneous armor
Turret front and the gun mantlet: 38.1 mm
Turret and hull roofs: 12.7 mm
Sides and rear of the hull and turret: 25.4mm (1 inch)
Hull lower glacis: 44.4 mm
Hull angled upper glacis: 15.8 mm, angled at 70 degrees.
Upper front plate: 38.1 mm, angled at 18 degrees.

US National Guard tank units originally existed as separate tank companies. In 1940, they were federalized and combined into battalions. The Battalion HQs were formed new and did not came from any specific state.

The 192nd Tank Battalion was composed of tank companies from:
Company A from Janesville, Wisconsin (formerly 32nd Tank Company)
Company B from Maywood, Illinois (formerly 33rd Tank Company)
Company C from Port Clinton, Ohio ( formerly 37th Tank Company)
Company D from Harrodsburg, Kentucky (formerly 38th Tank Company)
(Total: 54 M3 Stuart tanks and 23 half-tracks)

The 194th Tank Battalion was composed of tank companies from:
Company A from Brainerd, Minnesota (formerly 34th Tank Company)
Company B from Saint Joseph, Missouri (formerly 35th Tank Company)
Company C from Salinas, California (formerly 40th Tank Company)
Company D was not formed.
(Total: Probably 41 M3 Stuart tanks and 18 half-tracks)

M3 Stuart named “HELEN” belonged to the 194th Tank Battalion in the Philippines. Note the tanks carried no stars and the “USA” and serial numbers were painted in Blue Drab.

The 194th Tank Battalion deployed from San Francisco on 8 September 1941, arriving in the Philippines on 26 September and became the first armored force in United States history to deploy overseas. That deployment was followed by the 192nd Tank Battalion which arrived in Manila on 20 November 1941. The two battalions were based at Fort Stotsenburg on Luzon, northwest of Manila, southwest of Bamban. On November 21, the 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions and the 17th Ordnance Company (Armored) were combined to form the 1st Provisional Tank Group under the command of Colonel James Roy Newman Weaver which was the only armored force in the Philippines at the time.

Fifthy T12 M3 Half-track Gun Motor Carriages (GMC) armed with 75mm M1897A4 guns also arrived and were assigned to the Provisional Field Artillery Brigade for use in the anti-tank and fire-support roles. They were also called “Self Propelled Mounts” (SPM).

This T12 GMC is at the main training ground of the Tank Destroyer Force at Fort Hood, Texas in 1941. A total of 86 of these were built in the autumn of 1941 in the pilot series. They were characterized by the simple flat gun shield common to the towed M2A3 75mm gun carriage. These early production vehicles had fixed automotive style headlights and lacked scuff covers on the wheel hubs.

This T12 GMC and crew is in a camouflaged position in a field (probably sugar cane) on the Bataan Peninsula. Note the Firestone directional chevron tread pattern tires on the front axle. Only the initial production vehicles had this tread pattern which were later replaced by non-directional tread pattern tires.


About 10 days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, reconnaissance pilots reported that Japanese transports were sailing around in a large circle in the China Sea. On Monday, December 1st, the 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field to guard against possible Japanese paratrooper attacks. The 194th guarded the northern half of the airfield while the 192nd guarded the southern half. At all times, two members of each tank and half-track remained with their vehicles. Meals were served to the tankers from food trucks.

During the night of December 7th, the tankers were informed of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the tank crews were immediately brought up to full strength at the airfield. About 10 hours after the Pearl Harbor attack (around 1230 hours, December 8th Philippine time), the Japanese forces attacked the Philippines. Note: Hawaii time was UTC-10:30 and Philippine time was UTC+8:00, a difference of 18 and a half hours.

The Japanese Army and Naval bombers and fighters bombed and strafed two major US airfields, Iba and Clark. A few US Army P-40 fighters were able to get airborne and engaged the invaders but they were hopelessly outnumbered. During the attack, the tankers could only watch since they did not have weapons to use against planes. After the attack, the tankers were ordered to leave Clark Field for other urgent assignments.

On December 10, Japanese infantry forces landed at Aparri and Vigan on northern coast of Luzon. The next day, the Japanese infantry seized the airfields at Aparri and Laoag and the Japanese began operations from them. Japanese aircraft then destroyed the Cavite Naval Station and airfields around Manila achieving air superiority over the islands. The beginning of the Fall of the Philippines had begun.

Film: Japanese Invasion of the Philippines 1941

On December 21st, Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Theodore F. Wickord, commanding officer of the 192nd Tank Battalion, received orders to move his battalion north. Leading the road march north from Fort Stotsenburg was to be Company B commanded by Captain Donald Hanes. Hanes expected to refuel his tanks at Gerona and again further north at Bauang on the west coast. However, he was informed there was not enough gasoline at Gerona and the Japanese was rapidly approaching Bauang from the north. Since the company was almost out of fuel, the available fuel supplies were combined to provide enough fuel for a single five tank platoon to move north. This situation demonstrates the M3 Stuarts limited range as a weakness which British reports from North Africa had indicated.

The tanks of the 2nd Platoon, Company B, 192nd Tank Battalion were bivouacked near Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. At 1200 hours, Hanes ordered the tanks to prepare to move north. Second Lieutenant Benjamin R. Morin’s tank detachment left Dau at 1300 hours heading north toward Rosario. With him were the tanks of S/Sgt. Al Edwards, Sgt. Willard Von Bergen, Sgt. Larry Jordan, and Sgt. Ray Vandenbroucke. The five tanks were refueled at Tarlac, Genora, and they continued north.

After dark, the tanks stopped at Binalonan for an hour rest before continuing their journey north in total darkness. At Manaoag, a truck full of gasoline driven by Cpl. Russell Vertuno rendezvoused with the tanks. After refueling, the tank crews retired for the night. At 0600 hours, the tanks continued their journey through Pozurubio and on into Rosario. North of Pozurubio, Japanese reconnaissance planes observed the tanks movement and tracked them until they entered Rosario at about 0900 hours on December 22nd.

The hatch cover of the early M3 commander’s copula was too heavy for the commander to close by himself. The British solved the problem on their Lend-lease M3s in North Africa by adding brackets to hold the hatch level and added springs to the hatch.


On 22 December 1941, the Japanese made a major amphibious landing in the Lingayen Gulf area on the west coast of Luzon. The Japanese 48th Divisiion was the main attack force supported by tanks from the 4th and 7th Tank Regiments. The landing forces disembarkation started at about 0500 hours and continued throughout the day. The landing locations were at Agoo, Caba, and Bauang. Elements of the Tanaka Detachment which had landed and taken Aparri 12 days earlier drove south along Route 3 towards the Lingayen Gulf area to link up with the invasion force.

The Japanese forces landed largely unopposed at their landing beaches. The few Filipino units that were in the area did not offer much resistance, although PA 155mm field gun fire was heavy at times caused many Japanese casualties. At 0517 hours, the 47th Infantry Regiment took Agoo. Up the coast, the 1st Formosa Regiment, artillery, and tanks, landed south of Caba, at Aringay at about 0530 hours. Later, at about 0730 hours, the northernmost landings occurred at Bauang with the 9th Infantry Regiment. This force, the Kamijima Detachment, was to link up with the Tanaka Detachment that was driving south where it were to also advance southeast and seize Baguio to prevent the Americans and Filipinos from flanking the invasion force from there.

The PA 11th Division had setup some beach defensives at Bauang with .30 and .50 caliber MGs which caused heavy casualties to some Japanese landing units. Without artillery support, the Filipino units could not counter the Kamijima Detachment and were forced to retreat. Many Filipino units simply ran as the Japanese invasion forces approached them.

The PA 71st Division also had units near the Bauang beaches. The Filipinos tried to intercept the leading Japanese units while flanking them near San Fernando. If successful, they would had smashed Tanaka’s 2nd Formosa Regiment. However, the Kamijima Detachment had moved faster than the Filipinos had estimated and elements of the Japanese 9th Infantry Regiment had contacted Tanaka’s forces. Parts of the PA 11th and 71st Divisions were trapped between the Tanaka and Kamijima Detachments and the Filipino units were forced to withdraw through Baguio with Japanese forces pursuing them.

The other landings occurred without any resistance and the Japanese forces moved south along Route 3. Many PA 11th Division units were also retreating south along Route 3 towards Damortis. The only Allied unit that was close and strong enough to slow the advancing Japanese invasion force was the PA 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts). Part of the unit was positioned north of Route 3, but an engagement with Japanese units forced them to retreat to Damortis.


At Rosario, Morin’s detachment was informed that the 26th Cavalry was engaged with advanced Japanese patrols. Around 1000-1030 hours, Captain Hanes gave Morin warning orders to attack the Japanese. Morin met with Colonel Weaver and was ordered to attack the Japanese at Agoo, 12 kilometers (about 7.5 miles) to the north and west of Damaris on the coastal road. They were to proceed 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) further north to Aringay and destroy the enemy forces there. At that time, they believed that the Japanese had not landed their artillery and tanks.

At about 1100 hours, Morin’s tanks left Rosario and were attacked by Japanese planes. Bombs dropped by the planes exploded alongside Morin’s tank. Since they were fragmentation bombs, there was no damage. At Damortis, his tanks turned north and proceeded toward Agoo. Just north of Damortis, a 26th Cavalry scout car was parked. An American officer informed Morin that the Japanese were a half mile (0.8 km) ahead. The tanks proceeded north at a speed of 15 mph (24 kph). At this time, Morin tried to test fire the 37mm cannon. This resulted in the cannon locking in recoil evidently locked out of battery. The 37mm gun would stay jammed throughout the coming engagement.

The Japanese infantry had deployed off the road and hit the dirt very fast. Pvt. Louis Zelis, Morin’s tank driver, began to weave the tank so that the fixed MGs could fire upon the ditches more effectively. Cpl. John Cahill‘s bow gun kept jamming, but he still went through several 100 round belts of ammunition. Pvt. Steve Gados kept Pvt. Zelis’s guns loaded resulting with him going through 1000 rounds of ammunition. Morin manned the co-axially mounted MG in the turret. After a while, because of problems, Morin had to pull the bolt back by hand before each shot.

About 2 miles (3.22 km) south of Agoo, Morin’s tank was hit by a shell on the left side of the hull. The hit knocked the door loose in front of his driver’s, Pvt. Louis Zelis, position. Within seconds, a second direct hit tore the door away and left it dangling over the front slope plate of the hull. Morin signaled Pvt. Zelis to pull off the road to the right to take them out of the line of fire. Morin did this to give his crew the chance to put the door back in place before continuing the attack.

While the tank was stopped, a Japanese Type 89 I-Go medium tank charged down on Ben’s crew from concealment. The Japanese tank struck Morin’s tank in the left front at the driving sprocket. Pvt. Zelis backed onto the road again and tried to go forward. Since the left driving sprocket was sprung out of line, it was jammed in the track. The motive power of the right track pulled Morin’s tank off the road to the left. More shells struck the tank on the right side of the hull and in the right rear. One shell pierced the armor and entered the battery case causing the engine to stop. The radio and forward guns went dead, and the engine caught fire resulting in smoke entering the fighting compartment. Morin shouted “Gas!” to his men who immediately donned their gas masks. Pvt. Zelis climbed out of his seat and turned on the fire extinguishers. Within a few minutes, the heat had become unbearable but the fire was out.

Through the smoke, Morin could see the remaining 4 tanks of his platoon withdrawing to the south. He had hoped that Sgt. Al Edwards could have broken through the Japanese guns on the road and the second platoon would overrun the Japanese landing area at Agoo. Sources state that the remaining 4 Stuart tanks were later knocked out by Japanese air attacks. About 15 minutes later, the Japanese ceased firing and 3 Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks of the 1st Platoon, 2nd Company, 4th Tank Regiment approached Morin’s tank. His tank was 50 to 75 yards (45.72 to 68.58 meters) off the road in a dry, hard rice field. To prevent the Japanese from firing into the damaged right front of his tank, Morin climbed out of his tank and surrendered his crew. Morin and his crew were the first US soldiers to become POWs in WWII.


This battle is described in the rare 4th Tank Regiment book “戦四の歩み” (in Japanese).

This captured M3 Stuart flying a Japanese flag is claimed be be Morin’s tank. The M3 was repaired and pressed into service with the Japanese 4th Tank Regiment and later it was transferred to the 7th Tank Regiment.

Film: First US vs Japan Tank Battle of WWII. M3 Stuarts vs Type 95 Tanks


From December 25th to the 31st, the PA Divisions managed to delay the Japanese 48th Division advance in Central Luzon. The PA 11th, 21st, and 91st Infantry Divisions and the weakened 26th Cavalry Regiment withdrew south under the pressure of the advancing Japanese forces which were supported by artillery and air support. The M3 Stuarts of the Provisional Tank Group and T12 75mm Half track GMCs covered the retreat by setting up road blocks and provided fire support for the infantry. American and Filipino engineers created obstacles across roads and destroyed bridges. The PA built a series of defensive lines to slow the Japanese advance but once the Japanese penetrated one line, the PA units withdrew further south to the next established defensive line.

The coordination and communication between the tanks and the Filipino units was very poor or non-existent. One incident resulted in the loss of operational tanks. On December 27, while withdrawing south of Moncada (north of Gerona) along Route 3, the tank crews of 15 M3 Stuart tanks had to abandon their tanks because the engineers had blown up the bridge over an impassable stream before they could cross it. With the Japanese 9th Infantry Regiment quickly advancing upon them, the tankers had no time to destroy their stranded tanks before they withdrew across the stream.

Two Japanese soldiers posed on top of an abandoned M3 Stuart tank. Note that the MG in the hull sponson was removed and the port was plated over. Also the front hull MG is missing.

Japanese soldiers are walking pass this captured M3 Stuart tank which has an inscription in Japanese painted on it (translation to English is appreciated.)

A group of Japanese soldiers posed on another captured M3 Stuart tank.


Japanese forces had advanced south along Route 5 approaching the town of Baliuag which threatened to cut off the American and Filipino access through Route 3 to the Calumpit Bridges. If the Japanese force succeed in breaking through, it would impossible for US/Filipino units to retreat from Manila to Bataan and Corregidor. Elements of the PA 71st and 91st Infantry Divisions held a defensive line near Baliuag to hold the Japanese back for as long as possible to keep the escape route open to the west.

Around 1330 hours on 31 December 1941, Japanese armor appeared east of Baliuag. By 1500 hours the Japanese main column reached Baliuag and were ready to attack the 71st and 91st Divisions, as well as the inexperienced 51st Division. The only available mobile force was two platoons of Company C, 192nd Tank Battalion and was ordered to engage the advancing Japanese Type 89 I-Go tanks of the 7th Tank Regiment led by Colonel Seinosuke Sonoda.

At about 1700 hours, the M3 Stuarts of Company C, led by Lieutenant William Gentry, moved out to the attack. As the two platoons approached the enemy, the covering artillery fire, presumably supplied by the 71st Field Artillery, lifted. A bitter battle then ensued. The US tanks made a shambles of the part of Baliuag in Japanese hands. Stuart tanks rolled through the streets, firing into bahays, smashing through the nipa huts and spraying Japanese infantry right and left with MG fire. A brief tank-versus-tank action then followed. In the fading daylight, Stuarts and Type 89 tanks chased each other up and down the narrow streets, while Japanese soldiers fired small arms at the US tanks. The SPM’s and artillery remained idle, unable to fire for fear of hitting their own tanks. When Company C finally broke off the action, they claimed they knocked out 8 Japanese Type 89 tanks with no losses of their own. The Japanese 7th Tank Regiment records states only one Type 89 destroyed and one damaged.

Artist: Howard Gerrard, 11 Oaks Road, Tenterden, TN30 6RD, UK
Copyright Osprey Publishing LTD


The 4th Tank Regiment 1st and 2nd company markings were similar to the Italian WWII tank tactical markings. They would be hard to see in B/W photos.

7th Tank Regiment Markings:
1st Company: Hoshi (White Star)
2nd Company: Sasa (Bamboo Leaf)
3rd Company: Ōka or Ohka (Cherry Blossom)
4th Company: Flag? (Unknown)

The Japanese Type 89 tank was called “eighty-nine” because its design was completed in 1929 which was the 2589th year on the Japanese Imperial Calendar which began with the first Emperor of Japan in 660 BC. The year was shorten to the last two digits. The Japanese Type 95 tank design was completed in 1935 making it the 2595th year and shortened to 95. When there were more than one design in a year, a model number was then added. The Type 89 tank was the “I-Go”, or “first car/model” while the Type 95 was the “Ha-Go”, or “third car/model”.

During the 1920s and 30s, Japanese tanks carried a 4 digit registration number where the first two digits was the type number and the last two digits was the tactical number in the tank company.

This Type 95 Ha-Go tank belonged to the 7th Tank Regiment. The bamboo leaf of the 2nd company can be seen on the turret side and on the front hull.

On the left are two 2nd company Type 95 Ha-Go tanks and on the right are Type 89 I-Go tanks. With no barb wire available, Filipino engineers embedded in the ground thousands of sharpened bamboo stakes as an anti-infantry barrier along one of their defensive lines.

This Type 95 Ha-Go tank has the 4th Company, 7th Tank Regiment marking barely visible on the front hull.

Japanese 7th Tank Regiment 3rd Company Type 89 I-Go tanks and troops advancing south along Route 5 towards Manila.

Japanese Type 89b I-Go Otsu (diesel) tanks and horse units crossing an improvised bridge north of Manila on Route 5 on 2 January 1942. The white star indicates the 1st Company of the 7th Tank Regiment. At the same time, the leading units of the 7th Tank Regiment was entering the open city of Manila encountering no resistance.

This is a close up view of the same tank above clearly shows the markings.

Following behind the Type 89b I-Go Otsu tanks which already passed is an earlier Type 89a Ko (gasoline) tank. An American Ford model 1939 ambulance lies on its side in the river.

The Japanese had captured this T12 75mm half track GMC and it was pushed on its side into the stream. This could be on the other side of the improvised bridge above.

This is a close up of the Japanese inscription painted on the hull side (translation to English is appreciated.)


Major General Jonathan Wainwright, commander of PA II Corps, wanted to make the Japanese-held village of Moron (today Morong), strategically located on the west coast of the Bataan, the anchor for a defensive line stretching from the coast inland to the rugged Mount Natib.

Lieutenant Edwin Price Ramsey was one of the American officers attached to the Philippine Scouts, served as the commanding officer of a platoon in the 26th Cavalry Regiment. On the morning of 16 January 1942, Wainwright ordered Ramsey to take an advance guard into Moron. Ramsey assembled a 27 man force composed of mounted platoons from the 26th Cavalry Regiment and headed north along the main road leading to Moron.

Upon reaching the Batalan River that formed part of Moron’s northern border, Ramsey’s unit swung west and cautiously approached the seemingly deserted village, composed of grass huts suspended on stilts, with the livestock living beneath the structures. The only stone building was the Catholic Church, located in the middle of the village. At the outskirts of the village, Ramsey reorganized his force into squads and ordered a four-man point squad to lead them in.

As the point squad approached the village center, it came under fire from a Japanese advance unit that had just crossed the bridge spanning the river. Ramsey saw in the distance the lead elements of the Japanese main force beginning to ford the river. If the Japanese troops managed to attack the village in force, Ramsey knew that his outnumbered unit would be wiped out. Ramsey then decided to do something the US Army has not done in more than 50 years – order a horse cavalry charge against an enemy in war.

Ramsey quickly signaled his men to deploy into a forager formation. Then he raised his pistol and shouted, “Charge!” With the troops firing their pistols, the galloping cavalry horses smashed into the surprised Japanese soldiers, forcing them to withdraw. At a cost of only three men wounded, Ramsey and his men then held off the Japanese force until reinforcements arrived.

Philippine Scouts of the 26th Cavalry Regiment ride pass a M3 Stuart tank on the Bataan.

Sadly, the horses in Ramsey’s unit and the 26th Cavalry Regiment did not survive the war. In early March 1942, with food rations running low and animal fodder almost gone, Wainwright ordered all horses and mules slaughtered for food.

The crew abandoned this T12 75mm GMC in February 1942 somewhere on Bataan. It either had an engine problem or the crew disabled the engine to prevent its use by the advancing Japanese.

The last tank-vs-tank action took place on 7 April 1942 when two Japanese tanks were destroyed by M3 Stuart tanks somewhere on Bataan. This victory was short lived as two days later on April 9, the US and Filipino forces on the Bataan surrendered to the Japanese. At least 600 Americans and 5,000 Filipinos were killed in the infamous Japanese death march that followed.

The Japanese amphibious assault on the island of Corregidor (off the southern coast of Bataan), 5-6 May 1942, was the combat debut of the Japanese Type 97-Kai Shinhoto Chi-ha medium tank. It was armed with the new 47mm gun in place of the earlier short 57mm which was ineffectiveagainst enemy armor. The tank detachment from the 7th Tank Regiment which landed on Corregidor was commanded by Major Matsuoka and it consisted of two of these tanks and one captured M3 Stuart. The appearance of Japanese tanks near the main Corregidor tunnels and the lack of anti-tank weapons (no tanks) was one of the key reasons why Corregidor fell on May 6.

The 3rd company of the 7th Tank Regiment pressed a number of the captured M3 Stuarts into service in April 1942 to make up their losses during the campaign. Here they are lined up for a victory parade in Manila in May 1942 after the fall of Corregidor.

Film: Defense of the Philippines, 1941 (WWII Documentary)

By orders from Washington, General Douglas MacArthur left Corregidor on 12 March 1942. He made his famous vow to the Filipino people – “I Shall Return” and about three and a half years later, he did, landing on Leyte on 20 October 1944.

On 9 January 1945, the US 6th Army landed on a 20 mile (32 km) beachhead between the towns of Lingayen and San Fabian. The US 37th Infantry Division followed the same route the Japanese took 4 years earlier to liberate Manila. The 37th raced inland against slight resistance to Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg where fierce resistance delayed the capture of those two objectives until January 31st. The division continued to drive to Manila against small Japanese delaying forces, and entered the outskirts of the city on February 4th. After crossing the Pasig River, it ran into fierce Japanese resistance. After heavy street fighting, American and
Filipino troops cleared the city by 3 March 1945.

This captured M3 Stuart was the only tank that was part of the defenses of Manila. It was recaptured by units of the US 1st Cavalry Brigade in front of the Manila Hotel. The Japanese removed all the weapons and camouflage paint was added with a rising sun flag on the hull.


In accordance with the Tydings-McDuffie Act, President Harry S. Truman issued Proclamation 2695 on 4 July 1946 which officially recognized the independence of the Philippines.

Clark Field increased in size and later became USAF Clark Air Base, the largest overseas USAF base which later supported USAF missions during the Korean War and in Vietnam. In 1991, the Air Base was closed and was handed over to the Philippines Government. It was then transformed into today’s Clark International Airport.

Only the front gate pillars of Fort Stotsenburg still exist today and it is now a park to the west of Clark International Airport.

This close up of one of the pillars shows the fort name and on the base is the year 1902. The initial survey of the location dates from 1902 and the following year, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order, establishing Fort Stotsenburg at the location. It was named after Colonel John M. Stotsenburg, a Captain of the Sixth US Cavalry, and a Colonel of the First Nebraska Volunteers who was killed while leading his regiment in action near Quingua, Bulacan (northwest of Manila), on 23 April 1899.

Malinta Tunnel (today) on the island of Corregidor (off the southern coast of Bataan) was the HQ of General Douglas MacArthur. The main tunnel, running east to west, is 831 feet (253 m) long, 24 feet (7.3 m) wide and 18 feet (5.5 m) high.


Academy 13270 M3 STUART “HONEY” – 2010
Airfix A1358 M3 Stuart – Honey (British Version) – 2019
Dragon 6767 IJA Type 95 Light Tank “Ha-Go” Early Production – 2013
FineMolds FM16 IJA Light Tank Type 95 Ha-Go – 2001
FineMolds FM26 IJA Type 97 improved “Shinhoto Chi-Ha” Early – 2009
FineMolds FM56 Imperial Japanese Army Medium Tank Type 89 Ko – 2017
Tamiya 89774 Japanese Army Type 95 Light Tank & Infantry – 2009

Gaso.line GAS50149K Japanese light tank type 95 “Ha-Go” (Resin)
Gaso.line GAS50197K British light tank Stuart Honey (Resin)

Company B (1/56) AFV-Decal Japanese Armor 4th Tank Reg
Company B (1/56) AFV-Decal Japanese Armor 7th Tank Reg

Dragon 7394 IJA Type 95 “Ha-Go” light tank – 2011
Hasegawa 31103 Light Tank M3 Stuart Mk.I – 1991
IBG Models 72040 Type 89 Japanese Medium Tank KOU Late – 2016
Mirage Hobby 726072 U.S. Light Tank M3 ‘LUZON 1942’ – 2010

One thought on “Philippines 1941-42

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s